Many people are of the mind that if you go on a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates that the body goes from using the carbs as its main fuel to instead using the fat and protein. When the body burns the fat, a by-product called ketones supposedly gets passed out of the body through the urine. This thinking has led people to believe that since fats and proteins are a less efficient fuel that they can eat more of these as long as they lay off the carbs.
This is faulty thinking. The truth is that you will lose more weight being on a high-protein diet but the reason is that diets high in protein make people eat less. This is because this type of diet stabilizes blood sugar, not because the bad stuff is being passed out through urine. The mass diet movement started by Dr. Atkins preached to the people that sugar makes you fat, carbs are bad and protein is good. But, there is no reason to totally cut carbs from your diet because eating a meal that contains some protein and a few low carb items will have the same effect. Take a look at some hard science; one study done compared the Atkins’s diet to one of conventional low-fat eating. Those on the Atkins’s diet lost 12.7 lbs within 6 months while the others lost only 4 lbs.
However, after a year of monitoring this study, there was no significant difference in loss to be found. Another similar study showed the same thing, that there was no difference between the two diets aside from the methods. Yes, Atkins’s does work, BUT the results are nothing extraordinary compared to diets where fewer carbs are eaten. Actually, a diet such as Atkins’s may even prove dangerous to the dieter’s health.
Carbs are important. They are found in leafy greens and many other veggies and fruits. Cutting out carbs completely leaves the body deficient in important vitamins and antioxidants that people need to be healthy. Eating too much protein can be dangerous as well. People who do this have a much higher risk for kidney and bone problems as well as prostate and breast cancer.
Medically speaking, a diet that is high in protein and devoid of carbohydrates does take off the weight, but is definitely not worth the risk to the dieter’s health.